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"City of God" - utterly amazing! go, go, go see this movie!

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"City of God" - utterly amazing! go, go, go see this movie!

Old 01-25-03, 09:00 PM
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"City of God" - utterly amazing! go, go, go see this movie!

Having read and heard so much advance word of this movie, made me very eager in the film's release. Well, nothing can compare to the actual viewing experience. Imagine a mixture of of the kind of characters you might see in Larry Clark film, camera work reminescent of Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and a true story of two rival gang in contemporary Rio. Directors Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles expertly mix a story of myriad characters, storylines, unrelentless cinematic violence to such effortless effect, the movie satisfies on so many levels. The movie literally grabs you in the throat, throttles you and doesn't let you go. I can't give a movie so much praise as this movie did for me. Hands down the most amazing movie I have seen in a long time. If you chance to see this movie, go!
Old 01-26-03, 12:51 AM
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Probably not anywhere near me so I will have to get the DVD... as a blind buy of course.
Old 01-26-03, 07:26 PM
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'Gives Goodfellas a run for its money.'

Here's a rave review from the very reliable people at empireonline.
Old 01-27-03, 12:09 AM
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and an excerpt from the Washington DC's City Paper:

"CITY OF GOD - This pyrotechnic Brazilian slumland epic gallops through two decades, handguns and rifles matching the flamboyant camerawork nearly shot for shot. In another context, such excess would flirt with comedy, and director Fernando Meirelles does acknowledge the grim absurdities of his saga. But his pirouetting masterwork is set in one of the most notorious favelas in Rio de Janeiro, where the laws of both man and verisimilitude are seemingly suspended. Based on a 1997 roman à clef, the richly detailed film manages to keep track of dozens of characters, including aspiring photographer Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) and precocious sociopath Li'l Zé (Leandro Firmino da Hora). Meirelles' approach is brash and unapologetically intrusive, but his exuberant style is married to a naturalistic use of nonprofessional actors and improvised dialogue. The result is as grounded as it is frisky, a flashy yet profound lost-generation dispatch that blows away 'Gangs of New York'.
Old 01-27-03, 09:33 AM
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It really was a great movie... I didn't know quite what I thought until I was a few hours removed from the screening... but once it all gelled in my head, I decided it may be my #1 film of 2002.

The characters are brilliantly realized... as loathesome as they all are (except Rocket), they're also quite simpathetic.

I don't want to divulge too much of my opinion - much of it is better left unsaid... but do yourself a favor and see this movie.
Old 01-29-03, 12:01 AM
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That's what I thought during the first sequences: City of Godfellas. But where Scorsese's masterpiece distinguished itself above the gangster genre, this one swam in all the flourishes of exploitation. The main weakness, I think, came from the passive point of view, keeping the violence at a safe distance. But it is an exhilirating film. I'll give City of God that. It's a good gangster movie in an interesting location, with good performances.
Old 02-01-03, 10:08 PM
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Awesome movie!
Old 02-02-03, 07:42 PM
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its on my blind buy list. I doubt I'll get the op to see it in the theater.
Old 02-02-03, 08:57 PM
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This is probably the safest blind buy you can pull this year. I was totally glued to my seat watching this. My wife didn't like it as much just because there was never a "restroom" moment. Everytime she left to the restroom, I had to tell her how much she missed. Something tells me she prefer watching this on DVD

Again, guys, this is an awesome movie. It'll be hard to find anything as exciting viscerally and intellectually as this movie this year.
Old 02-02-03, 09:34 PM
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Definitely agree with what everybody has said!

I had the luxury of watching this 2 weeks ago in my film class and can definitely say that it is one of the best foreign films I have ever seen. The subject matter coupled with the way the director shoots the picture is dynamic and very compelling.

Fernando Meirelles was also there and informed the audience that the dvd when released will be a director's cut. He apparently edited about an hour of the movie for the theatrical release. So running time on the dvd will be close to 3hr20min.
Old 02-04-03, 05:26 PM
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I checked out City of God this past weekend. Frankly, this film did not register on my radar at all until I saw DVDTalker Giles' post here at DVDTalk. I'm not quite sure why, maybe it was his use of the word "utterly" in the thread title, or perhaps it was the third "go" in the thread title (combined with the fact that he is a seasoned veteran of DVDTalk), but I decided to check out the film based largely on his recommendation (though I did do a quick check around the Internet for a little more info. first). Walking in to the film (since the film is subtitled, I had to do some "selling" in order to find someone else to tag along), I was hoping it would be somewhat similar to a Bollywood gangster film called Satya. The verdict..............City of God is utterly amazing!

I thought the film was just perfect; I wouldn't have changed a thing. It is violent but not so much because of blood and gore but more so because of the cold-blooded, without remorse nature of the violence, coupled with the youthful age of the offenders. I loved the way the story was presented to the audience. Even though it has a fairly long runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes, there really isn't an ounce of fat in the film; there is something going on throughout the film (it never even occured to me to check my watch). Surprisingly, for a violent gangster film, there are numerous light moments throughout the film. At times I wasn't quite sure why I was laughing, but it might partly be attributed to me laughing in general at how downright pathetic the human race can be at times. I don't know who the actors were (professionals or amateurs?) but they were - across the board - terrific. Also, while I'm generally not a fan of "MTV-style" editing and directing, the quick-cuts, hand-held camerawork, etc. used in this film was both warranted and effective, and further enhanced an already outstanding story. I wrote something similar in another post, but for folks who might shy away from "artsy" movies, you need not worry City of God never failed to entertain. It is not "too talky" and is packed with action and more humor than you will find in many a comedy. The subtitling was not a distraction, you can easily follow the subtitles and not miss any of the on-screen goings-on.

If you have yet to see Gangs of New York and are thinking of doing so, I'd recommend you skip it and check out City of God instead. I hope someone finds this post of benefit; I too hope I don't mislead anyone into a negative experience at the theater.

Thank you DVDTalker Giles - very, very much!
Old 02-04-03, 05:48 PM
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I will tonight! I'll let you know what I think soon
Old 02-04-03, 05:51 PM
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My main question is...

when is the dvd for this one coming out??? I saw the film and was mesmerized!!! I took a friend along and mind you, this guy only likes action movies, hates subtitles and has a low attention span...and he loved it!!!
Old 02-04-03, 09:32 PM
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Re: Definitely agree with what everybody has said!

Originally posted by electrolite
I had the luxury of watching this 2 weeks ago in my film class and can definitely say that it is one of the best foreign films I have ever seen. The subject matter coupled with the way the director shoots the picture is dynamic and very compelling.

Fernando Meirelles was also there and informed the audience that the dvd when released will be a director's cut. He apparently edited about an hour of the movie for the theatrical release. So running time on the dvd will be close to 3hr20min.
Did Fernando Meirelles also mention that he actually couldn't film in the "real" City of God because it was way too dangerous. I also read that almost all the actors came from or hardly had families, what you saw were some pretty raw performances and mirrored some of their own personal lives.
Old 02-04-03, 10:14 PM
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It was a good movie, but that's about it. Maybe I went in having huuuuuuge expectations, I mean I had read all these rave reviews, and Ebert has placed it in 2nd place in his best of 2002 (right under Minority Report) and usually me and Ebert have the same exact taste, but just guess it wasn't my cup of tea. Perhaps too gruesome, too raw, too long...really don't know. Guess I'm gonna have to think about it (I saw it 45 minutes ago!).
Old 02-04-03, 11:31 PM
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Originally posted by Giles
Did Fernando Meirelles also mention that he actually couldn't film in the "real" City of God because it was way too dangerous. I also read that almost all the actors came from or hardly had families, what you saw were some pretty raw performances and mirrored some of their own personal lives.
I can't recall whether or not he said he couldn't film in the the "City of Gods" but he did mention that the film was shot in real housing projects in and around the area. They were given permission to film there through an agreement with local "drug lords" that he would hire people from the area to work on the film as make up artists, extras, and other things.

As for the actors, I was amazed at the fact that they had no prior experience with the exception of Carrot(an actor) and Knockout Ned(singer). Obviously there was an acting coach but many of the kids were able to improvise due to them having lived in the area all their life.

Other things he mentioned was that it took 6 weeks to film and another 8 weeks to edit. As I mentioned earlier, he edited out an hour of the movie that will be included in a director's cut dvd. I specifically remember him mentioning this. He also said that City of Gods broke Titanic's box office record when it opened in Brazil.
Old 02-05-03, 12:15 AM
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I wish to see this somewhere close to Chicago...but no...
Old 02-05-03, 01:30 AM
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Originally posted by DVD Smurf
I wish to see this somewhere close to Chicago...but no...
Not sure what you mean, but it's playing at Landmark Century Mall and Water Tower Plaza. Both are pricey - not sure if they have matinee price and you'll probably have to pay extra for parking. I checked Fandango last week and it seems that CoG will stop playing in Chicago on 2/14, so hurry!

Last edited by brombie; 02-05-03 at 03:48 AM.
Old 02-05-03, 03:39 AM
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I'd love to see it this weekend - we'll be staying downtown Chicago and the wife would go see anything I want, since it's my B-day! However, she had a hard time with "Dancer in the Dark" and "The Blair Witch Project" due to the hand-held camerawork.

For those who have seen it, how shaky is the camerawork? Anywhere near "DITD" or "TBWP"? I'd hate to drag her to another movie which makes her queasy (and they're much easier to "stomach" at home on a smaller screen).

Besides that, I can't wait to see this movie!
Old 02-05-03, 03:47 AM
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Originally posted by berserker37
For those who have seen it, how shaky is the camerawork? Anywhere near "DITD" or "TBWP"? I'd hate to drag her to another movie which makes her queasy (and they're much easier to "stomach" at home on a smaller screen).
In terms of looks, the movie is similar to Snatch, Traffic, & Lock Stock.

There are parts where it's pretty shaky (e.g. the chicken perspective on the opening scene) but they are not predominantly used in the movie. It definitely has the documentary feeling but it's not the amateurish one that was used in TBWP.
Old 02-05-03, 09:33 AM
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Originally posted by berserker37
However, she had a hard time with "Dancer in the Dark" and "The Blair Witch Project" due to the hand-held camerawork.

For those who have seen it, how shaky is the camerawork? Anywhere near "DITD" or "TBWP"? I'd hate to drag her to another movie which makes her queasy (and they're much easier to "stomach" at home on a smaller screen).
I haven't seen "DITD"; I have seen "TBWP" and I did have a big problem with motion sickness while watching the film. That being said, "City of God" resulted in only a very, very trace amount of motion sickness for me (the complete opposite end of the spectrum from "TBWP"). By the time I even began to suspect it might be causing me motion sickness, the film was over. No lasting effects.

On a related topic, you know those "epileptic seizure" warnings they have in video game instruction booklets, they probably could have used the same for this film in regards to one scene in particular (the scene had a lot of flashing lights).

Originally posted by electrolite
As I mentioned earlier, he edited out an hour of the movie that will be included in a director's cut dvd.
Should be interesting to see. Usually I'm all for extended cuts of films, but I have a feeling "City of God" might work better in its present form. I really never got the feeling that there was anything missing and/or not fully explored. They did a really nice job editing the film to give it maximum impact. The director's cut could be even better of course, but I hope both cuts are offered on the DVD.
Old 02-05-03, 11:11 AM
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Saw this film earlier in the year at telluride, and I loved it!

The director was part of this panel talking about working with non actors. He described holding workshops for about 100 to 200 of the kids in the film for a month to get them ready for their roles.
Old 02-05-03, 11:26 PM
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anyone have the dates that it expands across the United States?

specific cities?

thanks
Old 03-14-03, 12:10 AM
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I just returned from a preview screening in Nashville. I must say that City of God is an excellent film. It surpassed my expectations, but I always try to keep from being overhyped. I have no qualms about giving it a 9/10 (10s should not be given lightly). If you have the opportunity to see City of God, then by all means take advantage.
Old 03-19-03, 02:05 AM
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I went and saw City of God yesterday and I was disappointed. I'm not saying it was bad - it looked very professional and all the actors did a great job which is impressive since they were supposed to be amateurs. The music is great and so is the cinematography.

My main problem was that the film was long on plot and short on story. I wouldn't have guessed that it was all based on real people, because it really did feel like I was watching a Guy Ritchie movie (in terms of the story.) The film is very good at putting us in touch with the conditions of the 'Cidade de Deus' but never tries to show us why these conditions exist, or why the situation is inescapable.

In the end I felt like I watched an action movie, albeit with a cultural lesson but thats only because of the setting. If this was set in the slums of an American city I wonder if it would get such acclaim.

I realize I'm in the minority with my criticism and maybe its just because of my expectations.

7/10

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